Innovation That Matters

Modified cat's eyes offer icy road warnings

Sport & Fitness

The Pateye is a small LED device that is embedded into roads and lights up when the temperature drops below zero.


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Drivers who find themselves caught on icy roads often aren’t aware until their car starts skidding, especially when black ice is present. New Zealand-based lighting manufacturers SolarBright has now created the Pateye, a small LED device that is embedded into roads and lights up when the temperature drops below zero.

The devices are designed to be placed into roads much like traditional cat’s eyes – reflectors that help drivers keep in the right lane by marking the road ahead of them. Rather than simply reflecting light, Pateyes use high-visibility blue LEDs that are charged using the solar energy they collect during the daytime and car headlights in the nighttime. The lights include sensors which detect the temperature of the road and determine if ice is present. If it is the Pateyes begin to flash to alert approaching drivers that they should slow down or find a new route. According to its creators, the device could be used as a straight replacement on highways, railways or airport runways.

Much like the Netherlands’ Onna-onna system – which sends driver a text message when bad weather has been reported on their planned route – the Pateye could reduce the number of accidents on the road cause by bad weather. Are there other ways to alert drivers to hazards at the time and location it matters most?

Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise



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